Dryden and Domtar working of future direction for industrial taxation

November 22, 2016

By: The Dryden Observer

This story has been edited from the original form which appeared in print in the interest of clarity. Domtar and the City of Dryden settled all outstanding municipal taxation matters from 2009 to 2016 in a Memorandum of Understanding back on June 20, 2016. This story describes a forward-looking document that will set the tone and direction of the taxation relationship between the mill and the city in the future. — Ed.

After years of legal wrangling, Dryden’s Domtar Mill and The City of Dryden are close to a ‘direction-setting resolution’ on the issue of municipal taxation moving into the future.

A draft resolution was presented to Dryden City Council at the Nov. 14 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Councillor Roger Valley says he’d like to see a revision to a specific part of the document that stated, ‘The city will develop a long-term financial strategy that will consider measures to reduce industrial taxes over time in the Mill having a competitive municipal tax obligation relative to its competitors on a cost per tonne basis.’

Valley suggested the statement end after competitors to remove the cost per tonne issue.

“I do have problems with the few words,” said Valley. “I find that far too specific, maybe somewhat tying the future council’s hands. I would be very happy if council would consider removing the last words.”

CAO Ernie Remillard said he would return the resolution to Domtar for more discussion.

“I’ll bring it back to Domtar and we’ll try to have that revised for the end of this week, in order to be approved at council next Monday, if it’s not possible that’s fine, we’ll try to come up with wording that is acceptable,” said Remillard. “Both parties have to agree to it, so even if it has to come to December council that’s fine.”

The draft resolution states that they have agreed to settle all matter related to the Assessment Review Board (ARB) appeals for the 2009-2016 tax years related to the mill. It goes on to say that the city recognizes its responsibility to have sustainable revenue to support its community and service its current and future debt load and interest payments.

The mill will seek to have predictable and equitable tax obligations and Domtar withdraw all outstanding assessment appeals before the ARB. Domtar also waived certain portions of refund arising from the resolution of the 2009-2012 ARB appeals.

Further, the draft resolution says the city agreed to amend its tax rate as necessary in order to ensure that the property tax liability of the mill attributable to the city’s share of taxes, will not exceed the 2016 City’s share of taxes for the mill for the 2017 and 2018 taxation years.

The City also agreed to pass and publicize a broad, direction-setting resolution outlining the City’s long-term goal to adjust the large industrial tax rate over time to support the competitiveness of the mill.

By: The Dryden Observer

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